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David R. George, III

Forfatter af The 34th Rule

22+ Works 2,669 Members 71 Reviews 1 Favorited

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Værker af David R. George, III

The 34th Rule (1999) — Forfatter — 291 eksemplarer
Mission Gamma: Twilight (2002) 282 eksemplarer
Crucible: Provenance of Shadows (2006) — Forfatter — 202 eksemplarer
The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins (2003) — Forfatter — 195 eksemplarer
Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire (2011) 193 eksemplarer
Crucible: The Fire and the Rose (2006) — Forfatter — 184 eksemplarer
Crucible: The Star to Every Wandering (2007) — Forfatter — 171 eksemplarer
Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night (2012) 136 eksemplarer
Myriad Universes: Shattered Light (2010) 135 eksemplarer
The Fall: Revelation and Dust (2013) 133 eksemplarer
Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn (2012) 131 eksemplarer
Ascendance (2015) 71 eksemplarer
Allegiance in Exile (2013) 69 eksemplarer
Sacraments of Fire (2015) 63 eksemplarer
These Haunted Seas (2008) 60 eksemplarer
The Long Mirage (2017) 58 eksemplarer
The Lost Era: One Constant Star (2014) 54 eksemplarer
Gamma: Original Sin (2017) 50 eksemplarer
The Dominion: Olympus Descending (2013) 2 eksemplarer

Associated Works

Tales from the Captain's Table (2005) — Bidragyder — 168 eksemplarer
Twist of Faith (2007) — Introduktion — 150 eksemplarer
Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 2 (2009) — Bidragyder — 8 eksemplarer

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Kanonisk navn
George, David R., III
Andre navne
Ragan-George, David
George, David Ragan
Fødselsdato
1962
Køn
male
Nationalitet
USA

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It's sort of a miracle we got an Ascendants wrap-up book, you know? If Deep Space Nine was a comic book, it would have just moved on and forgotten about all this once the big crossover (i.e., Destiny) came along. It certainly wouldn't have spent time wrapping up a dangling plotline from a previous editorial regime. So, maybe we should be grateful?

And yet...

As I said in my previous write-up, it was a long time ago that I read Rising Son and its following books, so I am going off some pretty vague memories at this points. Yet if I recall correctly, what made the Ascendants interesting was the potential for cultural and religious conflict. These were people who had the same gods as the Bajorans but interpreted them differently. What would happen when they met the Bajorans?

This book is somewhat oddly structured. While Sacraments of Fire moved back and forth between 2377 and 2385, using the Kira of 2385(ish) as its focalizing character in 2377, Ascendance is split into half. The first half is all set in 2377; I wonder if you could just read it on its own as the next installment in the OG relaunch after The Soul Key. In this, Iliana Ghemor leads the Ascendant fleet through the Bajoran wormhole. I recently reread my review of The Soul Key from back in the day, and I wrote, "What really bothers me is that Fearful Symmetry gave Iliana Ghemor a complex backstory and strong character... but that felt entirely pointless here, as she became just another sneering madwoman." That continues here; Ghemor decides to blow up Bajor because she's so mad at Kira.

On the surface this has more action than Sacraments, but mostly all the characters seem to do is watch the Ascendant fleet come. Which is unfortunate because there are a lot of characters to do this watching: Kira, Sisko, Ezri, Vaughn. But no one does anything interesting. Basically what happens is that Taran'atar takes the only action of significance. We spent a big chunk of the previous book getting reacquainted with the Even Odds crew, but they're irrelevant here, they don't even show up.

The Ascendants attack... and Taran'atar sucks them all up. That's it? It doesn't feel worthy of the buildup, and it's not the kind of conflict I remember imagining. It fills a gap, but it kinds of feels like that's all it does. Sisko has a good idea, but doesn't feel like he plays an interesting role—weren't the Ascendants the whole reason he came back in Unity? Plus, it continues the thing I hate that all the post-Destiny novels have done with Sisko, which is take him away from being the Emissary.

Then we get an overly long double epilogue about Kira and Ezri, setting up the former's switch to religious life (still not sold on this) and the latter's transfer to the Aventine. Like so many George moments of "characterization," it's just someone sitting around thinking about something, not something that happens in the actual story.

Then we jump back to the present of Deep Space Nine narrative. This happens on p. 171... and the first inkling we get of something approaching a plot is p. 229. For sixty pages, people think about things and people have meetings. What will happen to Cenn Desca? I couldn't care less. Nog thinks about Vic, Ro thinks about Altek Dans, Quark thinks about Ro, Sisko thinks about exploring. Can you really write sixty pages of a novel with no clear narrative direction? Apparently so. I was so continually frustrated by this. One of my problems is that the main characters so very rarely interact with each other. Everyone seems lost in their own thoughts all the time; the real strength of DS9 on tv (and the original relaunch) was in how the members of its ensemble interacted. Whenever something like that does happen (Kira/Taran'atar in Sacraments, Ro/Taran'atar here) it actually is pretty good, but it so rarely happens. Every now and then there's a moment of characterization that actually does shine; I liked Quark asking if Nog was okay following the events of The Poisoned Chalice a lot. Even with Quark/Ro, it's never Quark and Ro interacting, but rather Quark scenes where he thinks about Ro and Ro scenes where she thinks about Quark. But originally it was George who made Quark/Ro into a believable thing back in Twilight!

Finally things come into focus. When Odo linked with the mysterious shapeshifter at the end of Sacraments, it came to life; now it begins flying through space faster-than-light toward the Bajoran system and the Defiant must intercept it. There is some nicely creepy stuff, but once again, I can't shake the feeling that our characters are just watching the story, not participating in it. Only Ro does anything that matters, when she opts to board the shapeshifter (which has by this point formed a duplicate DS9) against everyone else's objections. Even now, though, I am wondering why this is in the same book as the first half. What does it have to do with anything?

Here, we learn that when Taran'atar and the Ascendants blew up they merged into a weird collective life form but it was inert until it learned how to shapeshift from Odo. The Ascendants want to complete their ascension, so they fly into the wormhole and become the "planet" from "Emissary" whose existence I was dubious about back in Revelation and Dust. And... that's it?

Here, I feel the the ingredients existed to do something interesting. George is clearly trying to explore faith, in particular Taran'atar's, who in the end tragically cannot break free of the need to worship. I did like the return of Raiq and wonder if future novels will find anything interesting for her to do. But again, few characters have moments they make choices.

Moreover, from an ongoing storyline perspective, it's a bit of a fizzle. I think the ingredients are here—the merged Ascendant entity is like a Founder because of something one Ascendant did with the Founder god corpse in Olympus Descending. But, is there some kind of connection between the Founders and their god and the Prophets? But these are ideas in my head, not ones the novel explores or even raises. Instead, we are treated to a scene about which boring nonentity will replace another boring nonentity as the first officer of DS9. Will it be—checks notes—uh, Stinson, who I guess has been in four previous novels but left no mark at all and who we are treated to a two-page backstory infodump about? No, it's Jefferson Blackmer, Starfleet's worst chief of security. Well, at least he's been promoted to a position where he's no longer responsible for stopping sabotage or assassination, I guess.

The gaps are filled, I guess, the storyline tied off. But what was the point? What was it actually about? This one read much better than Sacraments, with more action... but very little of it seemed to matter in the end.

Continuity Notes:
  • A long time ago, I read the original series novel Allegiance in Exile. Thirty-nine books later that finally paid off when someone looked up the Ascendants in the computer and found the Memory Beta entry on Allegiance in Exile. Result!
  • No one in this book knows where Bashir is. Meanwhile over in Section 31: Disavowed (which I read just after this and takes place roughly at the same time, and was published over a year earlier) he's been pardoned and commended and is living publicly on Andor.
Other Notes:
  • What is up with Altek Dans? As in, what is the purpose of this character? Why is he in this series. Two 300-page books later and I have no idea. How is he a vehicle for new stories? I cannot fathom it. The "romance" with Ro comes from nowhere and nothing. Just why? I also don't get why no one just shows him a map of Bajor and asks him where his city was. Even if he's from 500,000 years ago, there should be enough familiar geographical features for him to answer this question.
  • Odo spends basically the whole book unconscious, then he leaves.
  • The station's new senior staff is largely so boring. Candlewood is fine if your requirement is "after Jadzia died, we need to say someone is doing science stuff," but he was never designed to be a focal character and it shows, and that goes for most of these people, and whenever the Defiant goes somewhere, its crew is almost entirely made up of people like that.
  • Like Sacraments of Fire, the back cover blurb fails to describe the book in any meaningful way, feeling like someone just pasted in the first two paragraphs of George's outline.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Stevil2001 | 1 anden anmeldelse | Oct 8, 2023 |
The Ascendants storyline was first introduced in Rising Son in January 2003; its last appearance prior to now was in August 2009's The Soul Key, to which this book makes a number of references. Then, with the Destiny time jump, it seemed to vanish entirely, with some vague references to it having happened during the missing years. Finally with July 2015's Sacraments of Fire it returns for an explanation at long last—six years since its previous appearance, over twelve since it first began. And here am I reading it eight years after that. It's been two decades since Rising Son!

Little wonder, then, that this book is filled with exposition and reminders. Who is Iliana Ghemor, what happened to Taran'atar, what did the Ascendants do, who were the Eav'oq, what was the Even Odds? So many threads from the first eight years of the relaunch get woven together here. Yet even though there's a lot of reminding, I often found myself slightly confused anyway, unable to discern what was significant new information and what was mere reminding of old information. What had happened to Taran'atar? He died? Was this during the Destiny time jump, or was this something that happened in The Soul Key but I forgot about in the past fourteen years?

Probably some of this was my fault. Probably also some of it was unavoidable. If George was going to finally wrap this storyline up, then how could he not interact with the details of twelve-year-old novels?

Yet like many of George's recent Star Trek novel's, it has a fundamental flaw. I said of his last one, Revelation and Dust, that it was "a book where almost nothing happens for the first 250 pages," adding "[n]o one is trying to accomplish anything and encountering obstacles." Exactly what bugs me about George's recent novels crystallized while reading Sacraments of Fire; to build on my line about Revelation, this is not a book where anyone has a goal. Rather things happen, then people react; more things happen, then people react; still more things happen, then people react. No one is trying to do anything. There's a whole multi-chapter escapade where Sisko is sent on the Robinson to intimidate the Tzenkethi and has to figure out what happened to a Starfleet ship—it has nothing to do with the plot of the novel, but worse, it doesn't really have anything to do with anything. It just takes up pages. Things keep happening involving a Bajoran moon and some religious fundamentalists, but our characters don't do anything, they just witness it. Odo spends the entire book looking at a Changeling artifact and thinking about it. The characters are never proactive... not even in their own heads, where they mostly just think about things that have happened to them in other books or between books. There's no drive or energy here. Blanks are being filled in, but no story is being told. Who are these people? I couldn't tell you. What is this book actually about?

Yet, you know, it's fairly clever. Following her utterly tedious (and still of no clear relevance) wormhole experience in Revelation, Kira is deposited in, it turns out, 2377, just prior to the Ascendant attack on Bajor. This means that what happened in the Destiny time jump isn't just a flashback, but it happens in the "present" for her. This takes what has been a "bug" of the DS9 novels and turns it into a feature.

Yet, Kira's dilemma about how to act in the past is too abstract; since we as readers don't really know what happened to the Even Odds, it's hard to perceive the issues in changing its history. It's hard to feel any suspense when all that Kira does in the past is continually be introduced to characters from Rising Son. I remember loving the Even Odds crew in Rising Son, eager for more adventures with them. Well, I finally got my wish... and it's so boring?

To add to all this, the book is often a plod in its prose and in its plotting. Prose-wise, I know we need some recapping, but there's often too much of it; the book indiscriminately recaps stuff we don't actually need to know. Many scenes would have benefited from a slash of the red pen. For example, when Ro and Cenn Desca discuss whether Altek Dans reminds them of Akorem Laam, Ro says she doesn't rememeber him because, "Thirteen years ago, I was living on Galion." The narrator then says:
Cenn knew that, at that time, the planet Galion had fallen within the Demilitarized Zone established by a treaty between the Federation and the Cardassians. If he recalled correctly, many of the Maquis leadership—and apparently Ro Laren—had settled there. He also remembered that, during the Dominion War, Jem'Hadar forces had wiped out most of Galion's population. All of which suggested why Ro might not have learned about the lightship that traveled out of both the wormhole and Bajor's past.
You probably don't need most of that paragraph, which provides way more detail than is needed to communicate the fact that Ro wasn't in Starfleet thirteen years ago. You certainly don't need the last sentence, which makes obvious an inference that anyone who had read the rest of the paragraph could have made. But it's typical of the book. In fact, in part II, there are these little recaps of part I, written as though it's recapping a previous book. Quark, I know who Altek Dans is and how he got onto the station because I read about it in this book earlier today!

The plot also plods. The conversation above is one that about happens about fifteen times. Is Altek Dans from the past like Akorem Lans? People wonder about this again and again. This is annoying because 1) everyone who read Revelation and Dust knows the answer is "yes" and 2) the characters make no progress in this question, and eventually decide the answer is probably "yes." Why did we have to spend all this time debating it? Isn't there some kind of Star Trek science test that could tell us he's from the past? On p. 190, this is still being debated!? Why are there interminable scenes about Ro trying to decide if Altek should be extradited or not extradited?

This book leads right into Ascendance, but the station present-day plotline doesn't even have a cliffhanger; it just stops. The cliffhanger is about what is happening eight years in the past!

Continuity Notes:
  • When Nog tries to access the Vic Fontaine holoprogram, he notices someone else accessed it. I initially thought this was a reference to The Light Fantastic, but that happens after this part of Sacraments, so I am not sure.
  • Blackmer offers his resignation to Ro again, but there's no acknowledgement he already did this in The Missing.
Other Notes:
  • You can write paragraph upon paragraph about how Cenn Desca and Kira were friends, David R. George III, but you can't make me feel it.
  • Speaking of which, Cenn Desca is boring, like all of the other new station characters. I don't think they've really been designed as main characters; they're names and species and jobs and that's it. They don't have hooks or desires. The original relaunch characters, Vaughn, Shar, Taran'atar, and so on, had things they wanted to do, and other things in conflict with them. What does Jefferson Blackmer want? Gregory Desjardins?* Wheeler Stinson? It's okay for side characters not to have this level of development... but they're too often the new ones are focused on like they are main characters. Indeed, I actually forgot Cenn Desca even existed, because I don't think he's even mentioned in The Missing or Rules of Accusation. Probably those authors forgot about him too!
  • The back cover blurb is a very detailed description of the first scene and it gives little sense of most of what the novel is about. I would not be at all surprised to learn it was lifted almost verbatim from the first paragraph of George's outline.
* Why put a JAG office on the station if you never use it to tell a story, anyway?
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Stevil2001 | Sep 30, 2023 |
This is probably the best of the David George Star Trek novels I have read, but it is still not very good. Its story and ambitions are fairly simple--Starfleet officers get stranded in another universe, and it is up to other Starfleet officers to put everything on the line to rescue them. The novel has several unresolved mysteries (like the portal that let to this universe, and the ridiculous idea of a star that scientists somehow know is constant in all universes) but it is really the character portraits that is the point. Unfortunately those ever-so-noble characters are not terribly interesting. The novel repeats a major plot point from Peter David's Captain's Daughter, which is just as ill-advised in this novel as that one.… (mere)
 
Markeret
jklugman | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jul 27, 2023 |
This novel is baffling, not in the sense of understanding the narrative, but in the sense of why the author thought his choices would at all be compelling to his readers. Much of the novel is not really focused on anything but the personal travails of crewmembers (including some kind of insectoid alien shedding their exoskeleton and thus undergoing some kind of puberty) on the U.S.S. Enterprise, captained by the lunk only seen in the seventh Star Trek film. Then it zeros in on a Star Fleet operation that is so patently stupid that one wonders if everyone in the Star Trek universe was a moron between The Original Series and The Next Generation.

Indiana University academic Murray Sperber appears to make a cameo appearance as a crew member; as best as I can tell the author had no connection to IU.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
jklugman | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jun 26, 2023 |

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